The Great BoJack Horseman Rewatch: Yesterdayland

Dating has gained an added layer of complexity for BoJack, as every girl he goes out with has read his book – and knows all of his habits and intimate secrets. But he finds an unexpected connection with the one woman who knows nothing about him – Wanda Pierce, an owl who has just woken up after thirty years in a coma. Meanwhile, Todd opens his own theme park.

Getting into a relationship with someone usually involves a slow process of getting to know them. As you get more comfortable with the other person, you can start opening up and revealing more personal information. But for Bojack, that’s no longer an option. Even his casual dates know all of the embarrassing details that Diane put into his book. But just as things look hopeless, BoJack finds the one woman who hasn’t even heard of him.

I really like Wanda – both as a character in her own right, and for her chemistry with BoJack. The idea that BoJack could find someone he actually wants to talk to and spend time with is incredibly cheering and heartening. Of course, BoJack being BoJack, he comes perilously close to ruining the relationship through paranoia and elaborate schemes, but he manages to pull it back in the end. And, ironically enough, the way he does that is by being honest. This is the one woman left to whom he can still present a fake, better version of himself, but ultimately he has to admit the truth. Yes, BoJack is the person who happily spent a night chatting with Wanda and having a good time, but there’s no escaping the fact that he’s also the arsehole who became paranoid and jealous. If his relationship with Wanda is to have a future, then she has to want to be with the real BoJack, not just the person he is when he’s on his best behaviour.

To Diane and Kelsey, it seems obvious why Wanda and BoJack work so well together – intellectually, Wanda is still a twenty-year-old, and effectively, so is BoJack. Kelsey points out that important life events are often when people stop growing and developing – for BoJack, that was when he got famous through Horsin’ Around. It’s true that BoJack is still emotionally quite immature – on multiple occasions we’ve seen him long for happy endings, reach for simplistic explanations that absolve him of guilt, and act selfishly in any number of ways. But he’s far from the only character in the show who hasn’t quite grown up. Last season, Sarah Lynn admitted that “I’m at a place right now where I never need to grow as a person or rise to an occasion because I can constantly just surround myself with sycophants and enablers until I die tragically young”. And Mr Peanutbutter is a classic man-child, with a simplistic outlook and only the rarest glimpse of hidden depths.

Surrounded by such people, it’s no wonder that Diane too seems to have fallen into a rut. It’s not just the eighty sandwiches she’s bought from the same restaurant. She’s already followed BoJack around for months, she’s researched and written a book on Secretariat, and yet here she is doing those same things on a movie set where her input isn’t really wanted or needed. Diane isn’t being stretched or challenged at the moment, but we know Sebastian St Clair’s offer is still on the table. All we can do is wait until the narrative nudges her to take it.

For now, we are also back in the realm of outrageous Todd B-stories. This time around, he’s managed to build his own Disneyland, complete with grease fire, mattress pile and Todd’s Death Coaster. It’s a mildly entertaining accompaniment to the main plot.

First appearances

  • Wanda Pierce: an owl who has just woken up from a thirty year coma. Thanks to this, vast amounts of popular culture – including BoJack’s career – have completely passed her by.

Other notes

  • Mr Peanutbutter spots Erica at Disneyland, despite the fact that she’s not supposed to be near children.
  • The sloth lawyer from last season makes a re-appearance here.
  • A lemur catches on fire at Disneyland. There was a lemur on fire in BoJack’s apartment in Prickly-Muffin.

Summary – Yesterdayland: “We already had sex, but I still want to spend time with you. Is that normal? Am I normal?”

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